Nottingham Forest held to draw at Meadow Lane


Notts County held neighbours Nottingham Forest to a 2-2 draw in front of a lively crowd at Meadow Lane on Tuesday evening that offered some positives to the newly promoted Premier League outfit.

The fixture provided an opportunity to get much-needed minutes into the legs of Ryan Yates, who suffered an early pre-season injury scare.

With Sam Surridge playing on through to the end of last season’s successful playoff campaign having had an operation immediately after the final, his return was a welcome site for Forest’s Head Coach Steve Cooper.

Out of the summer signings, only French defender Giulian Biancone featured at the back. There were opportunities for Richie Laryea, Braian Ojeda, Lyle Taylor,  Cafu and Alex Mighten to make a last impression before Cooper decides on their immediate futures. As he admitted at full time, performances of those fringe players had only sped up the need for them to find football away from The City Ground.

In the first period, Surridge displayed his sharpness with a sublime first touch from an over-hit pass from Cafu that enabled the former Stoke striker to pivot and almost feed striker partner Lyle Taylor in on goal.

Surridge continued to pose a threat and it was he who opened the scoring just before the break. Finding space on the left-hand-side of the box following good work from Yates and Cafu in the build-up, he took a couple of touches before finding space to curl home the type of classy finish that Forest fans have become accustomed to seeing.

For the home side, the goal had come slightly against the run of play. It was a useful test for the Magpies albeit with Cooper deciding against fielding the majority of his new summer signings. Ruben Rodriguez caught the eye with his one-touch passing and manager Luke Williams will have been impressed with periods of good passing play in the first half that had home side fans ironically chanting ‘it’s just like watching Juve’ in the famous black and white shirts.

In a second period, Notts got themselves right back into the game with the noise levels inside Meadow Lane. Rodriguez finding space on the left threaded a pass across to Wagstaff who fired emphatically past  Jordan Smith in the Forest goal.

It was Forest however that got themselves back ahead just a few minutes later to dampen the home fan’s mood. From fully 25 yards out, Cafu unleashed a superb free-kick that flew right into the top right-hand corner with keeper Sam Slocombe having no chance.

With Cooper making substitutes, they played the second half with a very young side including 16-year-old Zac Abbott.

Notts continued to probe and they got their reward with an equaliser through Sam Austin. As Smith made a real hash of a cross into the box,  the ball fell to the feet of Austin who took a touch before firing into the empty net.

Austin was presented with two further chances to win the game for the hosts but he firstly flashed over the bar from 10 yards before hitting the advertising hoardings when well placed once more from a similar position.

Williams was pleased with his Notts side efforts and Cooper gave positive updates on both Yates and Surridge that they had come out of the game unscathed. Forest move onto Valencia this weekend to complete their pre-season schedule before the Premier League opener at Newcastle United on August 6th.

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